Mark Tanner
Mark Tanner
18 March 2020 0 Comments

This week’s China market and marketing news:

< Go back to this week’s main article.

Outbreak: Coronavirus

Tracy Dai’s Tour of Shanghai Public Places as the Coronavirus Improves: 3 min warming video of how people are starting to enjoy public spaces again. 197 of Shanghai’s parks reopened last weekend and up to 335 parks by Friday. Chinese consumers’ interactions are coming more relaxed with some even taking off face masks.

Global Pandemic Real Time Monitor: Real time data on the COVID-19 global pandemic, complete with an interactive global map of the spread.

China Seizes a New Role in the World: “The 2009 financial crisis was a decisive moment emboldening Beijing and altering global perceptions of relative power between U.S. and China,” says Ely Ratner, former deputy national security advisor under Vice President Joe Biden. “I worry now we’re at risk of another decisive moment for US-China competition as Trump administration badly mishandles coronavirus.” Bloomberg has referred to China as a ‘safe haven’ as the country continues to stabilise amid global uncertainty.

Jack Ma is Shipping Coronavirus Test Kits and Masks to the US: Jack Ma has joined Twitter, announcing that he is donating 500,000 testing kits and 1 million masks to the United States in his first tweet.

Divorce Applications Spike After Coronavirus Quarantines: Significant interruptions to their routines, economic stresses, and increased risk of anxiety and depression are seeing a record-high number of divorce requests in some Chinese cities. “When couples spend day and night together, it’s hard to gloss over or hide marriage problems. This news didn’t strike me as a surprise,” wrote one Weibo user.

How Damo Academy’s AI System Detects Coronavirus Cases: Alibaba Group’s research and innovation institute DAMO Academy developed an AI-enabled system that could diagnose Covid-19 in 20 seconds with 96% accuracy. The AI system identifies the novel virus through computed tomography chest scans. The algorithm has been trained with data and CT scans from more than 5,000 confirmed coronavirus cases so far and taps into deep learning to study patterns of infection.

Consumers, Chinese Consumers

A Deeper Dive into Chinese Consumer Lingo – Consumer Mindset: Common terms used in communications by brands, including what works, what doesn’t, and what they mean for brands.

Online: Digital China

Is China’s Ecommerce Industry Already Bouncing Back After Coronavirus Epidemic?: There has been a noticeable shift in perspective over the last few weeks in China with a clear uptick in sales since the beginning of March. Many brands are seeing strong year-on-year growth over 2019. Over the worst of the outbreak, fashion sales slumped while cosmetics and food and beverage remained strong.

Livestream Selling a Boon During Outbreak: Report: 60% to 80% of the purchases made through livestreams on video platforms Douyin, Kuaishou, and Bilibili exceeded ¥200 ($28) during 17-23 February. Around 85% of orders on Taobao Live were over ¥200. The conversion rate was 56%, higher than 50% from regular buyers. Livestream users on Douyin, Kuaishou and Bilibili ranged from 120 to 190 minutes/day, versus 52-109 minutes for viewers of other video content. Livestream accounted for 28% of Douyin’s total traffic during the week, up from 24% six weeks earlier.

Pinduoduo Announces Fourth Quarter and Fiscal Year 2019 Results: Sales on PDD grew 113% to ¥471.6 billion ($67.3 billion) last year. Active monthly users of the app in Q4 grew to 482 million, 77% more than a year earlier, with active buyers (including those who come through the app and social networks) growing 40% to 585 million. Annual spending per active buyer grew 53% in 2019 to ¥1,720 ($247).

Ikea to Sell Through Third Party for First Time on Tmall in China: As another indication of how brands need to take a unique approach to China, the world’s biggest furniture retailer has started selling its products through a third party for the first time in its 77-year history, as it hopes to reach more consumers in China.

Premium Food & Beverage

SIAL China 2020 Postponed Until September: Asia’s largest Food Innovation Exhibition has been postponed until late September with a new venue.

Is China Ready for Western-Style Sauces and Dressings?: There aren’t rows of Western-style seasoning products like BBQ sauces or salad dressings on the shelves of Chinese supermarkets. This is due to flavour and a lack of acquaintance with such products with much of this coming down to R&D and education.

Cosmetics & Beauty

The True Face of China’s Plastic Surgery Clinics: Since 2018, 28-year-old visual artist Lu Yufan has gone for consultations at more than 10 different plastic surgery clinics in Beijing, Tianjin, and South Korea, documenting her experience, but never booking a procedure. As she expected, nearly every consultant gave her the same advice. Lu believes the recent shift in beauty standards in China — with younger influencers abandoning an “internet celebrity face” in favour of more diverse styles — underlines the fact that plastic surgery is ultimately just a fashion trend, with faces coming in and out of style like flare jeans or crop tops.

Banking, Property & Investments

Coronavirus: Real Estate Agents In China Embrace Virtual House Tours: Virtual Reality has become an increasingly critical supplement to the traditional home-buying experience, allowing agents to create virtual real estate tours for clients. In February, realtors and buyers initiated an average of nearly 350,000 virtual house viewings per day, about 35 times the previous month’s number. Online real estate platform Beike created an online property sales office and held its first virtual open house on 22 February. Within 10 minutes of opening, it had convinced more than 1,068 clients to make property purchases. The platform now offers virtual tours of more than 3.3 million listings in over 120 cities across China.